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Buzzing Rick

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by greydominion, Jan 4, 2012.


  1. greydominion

    greydominion

    Aug 21, 2011
    Brooklyn
    I have an 86 Rickenbacker 4003 with a fairly new pair of Fender flats on it. I know you're supposed to get the neck almost completely straight (referring to Joey's guide) which it is. If I hold down the first and last fret at the E or G string i can fit a piece of paper or two through it.

    However, I'm still getting a buzz that comes through the amp on the A string most strongly through the 10th-12th frets. I tried raising the bridge almost to the point of it being pretty uncomfortable to play and the buzz is still there. The bass is in very good condition with little wear on the fretboard. It was basically unplayed when I got it five years ago, and I haven't heavily used it either and have always used half rounds.
     
  2. steddy2112

    steddy2112

    Aug 19, 2007
    Newark, DE
    Did it buzz when you used the other strings?
     
  3. greydominion

    greydominion

    Aug 21, 2011
    Brooklyn
    Nope. Just the A string.
     
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    raise the bridge a little
     
  5. greydominion

    greydominion

    Aug 21, 2011
    Brooklyn
    If I raise the bridge anymore, the action is going to be very very high
     
  6. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    That would point a finger at the string, which *could* be a bad string. The action's high, already? I know Ric necks are supposed to be dead straight, but there are certain laws of physics that come into play...
     
  7. greydominion

    greydominion

    Aug 21, 2011
    Brooklyn
    I knew I should've bought Chromes :meh:
    Or could it need fret work?
     
  8. Is the buzzing more pronounced at any one certain part of the fretboard? You could indeed have a high fret, but without seeing the bass; it could also be something else. My 4003 neck isn't dead straight, but almost. I needed to have a small bit of relief in mine to stop an E string buzz. Raising the saddles did me know good either. Action was too high then. I just backed off the top rod a touch and it did the trick. I don't think you'll find your cure by raising the bridge. I wish the Rics has totally individual saddle heigth adjsustments instead of the E-A....D-G. Check for the high fret first if the buzzing is related to just one area on the neck/FB.
    John Sr.
     
  9. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    If the action is already high to keep the bass buzz free, chances are you have fret issues. Ric necks should be fairly straight with no buzz. Normally they are capable of achieving pretty low action too. If yours isn't able to, you should get it checked out.

    You could also add a little bit of relief and see if that helps.
     
  10. greydominion

    greydominion

    Aug 21, 2011
    Brooklyn
    When I put Fender flatwounds (45-100) on my 72 Jazz and this Rick, they both exemplified any fret problems on the bass. Both used to have half rounds. Could it be the strings or generally flatwounds? Is there an easy way to check my frets without having to take it to a luthier (just to look)?
     
  11. Sounds like a high fret somewhere.
     
  12. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    String vibration can definitely affect playability. To check for high frets I use Stewmac's fret rocker.

    Most reputable techs offer a free evaluation of the instrument. That would be my recommendation.
     
  13. +1 to the Stewmac stuff.
     
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    flatwounds, sheet-of-paper relief, and high bridge action still buzzes on high frets?

    i also suspect neck and/or fret unevenness up there.
     
  15. Probably a combination of a little of both.
     
  16. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    It puzzles me that only the A-string is involved. In general, buzz at higher fret positions can be caused by too much relief. At lower positions it may be due to a backbowing neck. This link can be helpful to understand the effect of the shape of the neck: Lakland Bass Setup With Carl Pedigo (Part 1 of 2) - YouTube
     
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    kinda; assuming a good neck, it's caused by the saddles being too low, a condition which too much relief will hide.
     
  18. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    ^Yep, all variables count! If you draw a hollow bow with a straight string above it, going all the way over the straight body to the bridge, and you push down the string in the middle of the bow, you'll see that it (almost) touches the last fret.
     

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